“Digitization” is on everyone’s lips – no longer only in technical and mechanical sectors, but also in healthcare. But what does that mean in reality?
The healthcare industry has gone digital
From booking appointments online with the doctor you trust, through their websites to medical advice in the online practice “Dr. Ed”, where you can simply get good advice from selected doctors. From finding the best specialist in your area to getting your test results back through patient portal aegislabs all can be done with a few simple mouse clicks.
So it cannot be denied that digitization has already arrived in the field of medicine and that the processes are slowly evolving. This development holds a lot of opportunities, but also some risks, and various measures must be taken to eliminate the dangers of digitization.
Opportunities and advantages of digitization
In medical practices and clinics
Physicians who have been practicing for several years will certainly still remember patient cards that had to be filled out by hand and sorted into the file – some of the handwritten patient cards can still be found in doctor’s offices and hospitals today.
The whole system not only eats uptime but also money. If you decide to go down the path of digitization and switch to a completely computer-controlled system, there are various advantages and opportunities:
- Time-saving, since the writing and sorting effort is eliminated
- Automation of various processes, such as reading in ultrasound or X-ray images and assigning them to the appropriate patient
- Possibility of new technologies, for example, the monitoring of symptoms via app & the corresponding evaluation
- Faster and easier communication between doctors and employees, resulting in time savings and an improved workflow
In this case, saving time not only means that resources and consequently money is saved, but also that patients can be treated better and faster in an emergency.
As an additional, uncomplicated source of income for doctors
Telemedicine has been an important part of the internet since its beginning- but the technology can still be expanded and is far from exploiting its full potential as we have seen during the pandemic. From online appointment booking to chat consultation hours to health check-ups via the app – the possibilities are diverse, the interest is there, but implementation has often been lacking.
As a relief and enrichment for patients
New data is collected every day in the medical industry. Whether X-rays, ECGs, or blood counts – this data is usually not used sufficiently and networked with each other. And that costs time and money. Digitization in healthcare offers the opportunity to turn big data into smart data. Patient data can be networked and linked with each other, like the KardiAssure at Aegislabs which not only monitors patients’ medication intake but also provides the result online through the patient portal aegislabs. With this innovative data processing, diagnoses could be made faster and diseases could be better monitored.
In detail, this means for patients:
- Faster treatment
- More accurate diagnoses
- Advances in early disease detection
- Faster treatment and better communication between doctor and patient
Risks and challenges
The challenges that growing digitization brings with it – across all sectors – are also an issue in the healthcare sector. Here even more than ever, after all, really sensitive data is being worked on.
- Losing data would be fatal, and in the worst case, a system failure can even cost lives. Cyber attacks cannot be ruled out either – a digitally networked medical practice faces three central tasks:
- Use high-quality IT equipment with suitable PCs, tablets, and servers, so that downtimes can be almost completely ruled out
- Take data backup seriously: This point should be taken seriously in well-run practices anyway, but the data backup process must be adapted if data is only stored electronically.
- Protection against hacking attacks and data theft: Data protection has always been a big topic anyway – especially when it comes to patient data, you should pay special attention to IT security.